Suffolk health leaders praise cricketer Andrew Flintoff’s open discussion about depression for Mental Health Week

Andrew Flintoff has been prasied for highlighting mental health issues. Picture: IAN WEST/PA WIRE

Andrew Flintoff has been prasied for highlighting mental health issues. Picture: IAN WEST/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Suffolk mental health professionals have welcomed comments made by former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff who opened up about his personal battle with depression during a radio show this week.

John Hague, pictured speaking at mental wellbeing conference, said he hoped Flintoff's comments will

John Hague, pictured speaking at mental wellbeing conference, said he hoped Flintoff's comments will encourage others to seek support. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Flintoff, who has spoken frequently of his struggles, said he hoped better discussion can stop mental illness being labelled a “stigma”.

He is among a number of public figures to have recently highlighted the issue, such as Prince Harry who revealed he had undergone therapy for bereavement following the death of his mother. Others include the musicians Stormzy and Professor Green, as well as footballer Rio Ferdinand, who have all made films for the Heads Together campaign.

Mental health leaders in Suffolk praised the cricketer for talking openly about the issue.

John Hague, mental health lead for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It’s helpful that a well-known sportsman feels able to talk candidly about his mental health issues and bring more openness to mental health discussions.

“I hope this will encourage others to seek support and get help to improve their mental wellbeing.”

Flintoff’s comments were made during a BBC Radio 5 Live show for Mental Health Awareness Week when he criticised the use of the work “stigma”.

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“When you use the word stigma, it’s like you’re talking about something that’s an issue to talk about, and I genuinely don’t think it’s an issue to talk about,” he added. “Things like this week, the mental health week, it’s got to help.”

The ex-Lancashire and England all-rounder, who has battled with depression for much of his life and takes anti-depressants, attempted to describe its symptoms.

“When you’re depressed it’s a strange state of mind - the world passes you by, you can’t get a thought in your head,” he said.

“It’s like the shutters coming down on you, and everything’s going on around you.”

Nesta Reeve, consultant clinical psychologist and clinical lead from NSFT said: “It’s great that someone in the public eye has spoken openly about their struggle with depression and we hope this can encourage others to seek the help they need.”

“Problems such as stress, anxiety and depression can all have a major impact on both individuals and their families but help is available from Wellbeing Suffolk.”

Wellbeing Suffolk provides a range of services from 8am-8pm during the week to support children and adults with their emotional wellbeing,

To find our more about the service visit its website or call 0300 123 1781.